Honda planning to expand U.S. sales of Civic models powered by natural gas

Article by Christian Andrei, on November 22, 2010

US sales of Honda Motor Co.’s natural gas-powered car will be expanded from only four states this year to most of the 50 states by next year, according to US Executive Vice President John Mendel.

Honda is currently the only carmaker that sells this product. During a briefing at the Los Angeles Auto Show, Mendel said that sales of Civic GX will be extended throughout the country.

Mendel had described the Civic GX to be “a whole new vehicle,” however, he declined to give more details.

Mendel said that Honda will announce sales of this vehicle together with its plans to revamp the Civic lineup in 2011. Honda, which has offered a natural gas Civic for the past years, is promoting the fuel further.

In particular, Honda is boasting that this fuel has less emissions than gasoline-powered cars. This fuel is taken entirely from domestic sources. Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group LLC are working on developing natural gas models as well.

Mendel cited that the current federal incentive for the purchase of a natural gas car is $3,500. Typically, Honda sells about 2,000 units of the Civic GX each year but this year, it will only sell 1,200 units this year due to plans to revamp the model.

According to Boone Pickens, founder and chairman of BP Capital LLC, a bill to help convert the US trucking fleets to natural gas may pass Congress by year-end with bipartisan support.

Pickens mentioned that diesel and gasoline engines contribute to global warming. Pickens also said that diesel and gas engines increase US oil imports and cost the country up to $1 billion a day. [via businessweek]

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